Dark Continent my Black Arse
In 2003 Sihle Khumalo decided to give up a lucrative job and a comfortable life style in Durban and to celebrate his 30th birthday by crossing the continent from south to north. Celebrating life with gusto and in inimitable style, he describes a journey fraught with discomfort, mishap, ecstasy, disillusionment, discovery and astonishing human encounters. A journey that would be acceptable madness in a white man is regarded by the author’s fellow Africans as an extraordinary and inexplicable expenditure of time and money. Newly conscious of language barriers and regional difference in a continent still unexplored by the majority of Africans, the author presents a strikingly original and highly enjoyable account of a unique adventure. Each chapter is prefaced by a description of the ‘father of the nation’ of the country in question and ends with a hilarious ‘important tip’.
road to Livingstone, I observed that the landscape was no longer the same. On the Zambian side there was more undergrowth and shrubs and trees, as well as huts and houses, not to mention cattle strolling across the road. The roads, compared with those in Namibia, had deteriorated. Not long after leaving the border, we hit a roadblock. A police officer climbed into the bus and walked halfway up the aisle, turned and got off, without saying a word to anyone, including the driver. Almost the same
church I was looking for. Not far from the church, I spotted the office. I shouted ‘Stop!’ and hammered on the dashboard, leapt out and rushed over to the booking office to find my backpack quietly waiting for me inside. From an old, grey-haired man at the office I learned that someone would be waiting for me at the airport, so I didn’t need to be issued with an air ticket. At my insistence (I was not taking any chances at this stage) he phoned to confirm that this was so. It sounded confusing
Prior to joining the tour, I dropped off my laundry at the hotel’s reception desk. I had been on the road for almost a month and my clothes were really dirty. There were about 15 of us on the tour. On our way to the plantations, which are all government-owned, we drove past David Livingstone House. While the tireless explorer was outfitting his last expedition to the mainland of Africa in 1866, Sultan Seyyid Majid placed this big, square, triple-storey house at his disposal for a few weeks. Our
transport, reminded me of back home. Involuntarily I started thinking about how much things could have changed since we started living under a new dispensation, and how superficial the changes have been. Yet, under that tree I had another of those feel-good moments, as on the previous day. There is something about sitting under a tree that makes me feel one with nature. That moment reminded me of the shower of rain at the spice plantation in Zanzibar. After an hour and a half of waiting, enough
me to be happy no matter what. Secondly, I felt that somebody who was going through a bad patch would find that book and, hopefully, it would put things in perspective in his/her life too. A few kilometres after the third registration point, the boksie’s front-right tyre burst. I didn’t consider it such a big problem until I saw the spare tyre had a big slash in it and virtually no thread. Obviously it had a tube, but, considering the size of the slash and the condition of the road, it was a